Skip to main content
22 votes
Accepted

Why 你在笑什么?, why not 你笑在什么?

「在」in「你在笑什麽」is not equivalent to English at in what are you laughing at?. To demonstrate by analogy: 你在吃什麽 - what are you eating? 你在做什麽 - what are you doing? 「在」is actually equivalent to the suffix -...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 22.7k
19 votes
Accepted

"Baby" vs "宝贝" - coincidence?

Interesting, but this is a coincidence. Baby comes from a reduplicated Proto-Germanic root *bō-, which is cognate to English boy, appended with a diminutive suffix -y. 寶貝 comes from the meaning rare/...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 22.7k
18 votes

Why is the Pinyin for 波 bo1 not buo1? And why is 多 duo1 instead of do1?

For all practical purposes, you can think of this as a spelling convention. The finals are pronounced the same, even if all finals are to some extent influenced by the preceding initial. In Pinyin, ...
Olle Linge's user avatar
  • 3,057
15 votes
Accepted

Why there is no 的 after 你 in 你国家的医院好吗?

This question is really about: " when can we omit the possessive 的 " 的 1.(adjective suffix): For example: 强大勇敢 (strong and brave) 强大勇敢的人 (strong and brave man) You cannot omit the ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
  • 79.2k
12 votes
Accepted

Why can't 去 or 回来 be used with 在 or 正在 to become progressive

The answer is "habit". Because we don't write or talk in that way. For example, both 肥 and 胖 mean "fat". We call a fat person as 胖子. 肥子 is not usual because we don't have the habit. He is going to ...
user-487's user avatar
  • 1,974
12 votes
Accepted

Is this Chinese and what is the meaning: 阿ㄘㄟˊ

It is Amis/Pangcah (阿美族語), the language of one of the Taiwanese aborigines (台灣原住民). 阿ㄘㄟˊ ( ā céi ) means "ridiculous; crazy; unreasonable; nonsense; goofy; outrageous; nuts". 阿ㄘㄟˊ: You are nuts! ...
user-487's user avatar
  • 1,974
11 votes
Accepted

Are `sh` and `x` really different phonemes, or just different realizations of the same phoneme?

This is a classic problem with defining phonemes. Looking for "complementary distribution" of sounds does not uniquely determine a phonological analysis. In Mandarin (I'll use pinyin here), ...
Stumpy Joe Pete's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Difference between 小吃 and 零食

小吃: snack. Examples: steam bun, hot dog, baked sweet potato (most street food stall's cooked food are considered 小吃.) There are also cold served 小吃 like cold cut meat or cheese on cracker (mostly ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
  • 79.2k
10 votes
Accepted

Could you please tell me what these characters are?

柏林 Berlin (the capital of Germany) 快速提升中文程度的方法: 1. 初級者多看中文文章。 2. 中級者多寫中文文章。 3. 高級者多用中文思考。 所以,除了初學者可能有困難外,建議大家多用中文問答。
user-487's user avatar
  • 1,974
9 votes

Resources for learning Mandarin Chinese

Social Media Discord 30 Days of Chinese is for sharing your Chinese studies. Reddit r/ChineseLanguage Facebook Business Chinese Learning CCTV中文 Chinese news. Chinese Class 101 CRI Learn Chinese ...
9 votes
Accepted

What is the Mandarin equivalent of Cantonese's 麻麻地 (so-so)?

麻麻地 (Cantonese) 麻麻地 http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/words/1503/ so-so; not too good, not too bad; ho-hum; middling. Example: 佢嘅英文麻麻地 (his English is just so-so) 普通/ 普普通通 ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
  • 79.2k
9 votes
Accepted

Why is there such a difference between "first name" and "last name"?

你的姓是什么? is not a common way to ask someone's last name. The more common way is : "Title +贵姓?" "你姓什么?" (the noun '姓' here is acting like a verb (is family-named) In the past, most people in ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
  • 79.2k
8 votes
Accepted

How to pronounce 廿卅卌 in Chinese?

In most Cantonese speakers I know, 廿 is still a colloquial item of vocabulary, replaced with 二十 in usual formal writing; but 廿 remains a very common alternative, for counting as well as enumerating. ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
  • 6,631
8 votes

Mandarin: when is it okay to use only 點 instead of 一點?

點 「吃點東西吧!」、「一點小事別在意!」 一點 「也少盡一點子心哪。」 一點點 「祇有一點點大。」 一點兒 「大意一點兒」 In most cases these are interchangeable. We do not omit 一, if there is no verb, adjective or adverb in front of it. For example, ...
user3a's user avatar
  • 1,511
8 votes
Accepted

Which is more common in Mandarin: 四處 or 周圍?

四處 is better than 周圍 in this case. However, I think you can consider 到處. The house will have your books everywhere. 這房子將到處都有你的書。 From Google Translate: everywhere 副詞 到處 everywhere, ...
young99's user avatar
  • 1,463
8 votes

What is the meaning of 機歪?

機車 and 機歪 are indecent words. As time changes, the meanings are already different. The following is one of them. The 機歪 refers to the female genitalia - 膣屄 (cunt). The Hokkien pronunciation is tsi-...
vuluvsa's user avatar
  • 1,404
8 votes

"Baby" vs "宝贝" - coincidence?

They are not etymologically related as other posters have noted, but it might not be a pure coincidence. Many people have noted that words like "mama" and "papa" are similar across language families ...
Penguin2308's user avatar
8 votes

Using phrase 打不死

打不死 is of a fine, common idiomatic structure X不Y, where X is some verb that cannot be completed, e.g.: 吃不完 (implying that there is too much food to be finished) 做不動 (implying that you are unable to ...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 22.7k
8 votes
Accepted

How to say job offer in Mandarin/Cantonese?

'Job offer' is a noun. It means 工作提案 in literal sense 聘用提案 (hiring offer) world be a better Chinese counterpart you can also use a more literary term '邀聘' [invite to a job(v); job invitation (n)] ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
  • 79.2k
8 votes
Accepted

Is Putonghua Mandarin Chinese or is it standard Mandarin Chinese?

TL;DR - linguistically Mandarin is equivalent to 官话, but be careful when using the concept with Chinese people. 北方话 is more widely understood, but even then... caveats abound. "Standard Chinese&...
Michaelyus's user avatar
  • 6,631
8 votes

What are the differences between 本 and 版 when it comes to edition

In general, there is no difference in the meaning, but the two characters are not interchangeable, since some publication use one over the other, it is up to the publisher or convention to decide ...
Chen Jesse's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

-uan pinyin pronunciation

There are several cases in Mandarin of multiple sounds sharing the same symbols in Pinyin, such as -uan as you've noticed, as well as -i which has multiple sounds associated with it. In the case of -...
小奥利奥's user avatar
  • 1,492
8 votes
Accepted

Does Chinese require more context to avoid ambiguities than English?

TL;DR I would say so, yes. One type of ambiguity is given by the isolating nature of the language (i.e. absence of inflection) combined with a high frequency of homophones. Which means if you hear me ...
blackgreen's user avatar
  • 5,452
7 votes
Accepted

Any real difference between 句子 and 句话 in Mandarin?

"句话" is not a word. A qualifier is needed before it, like"一句话" or "两句话". No one say "句话" alone, because it is weird.
Vision Chang's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

二 Mandarin pronunciation vs. other dialects and Japanese

Here there's some other people asked the same question. 忆珩 and Nimmer provided answers that maybe very helpful to your question: 忆珩: 二、耳等字属于日母止摄三等,日母古音是个舌面的鼻音ȵ,本来是从泥母n中分化出来的,后来北方方言中日母鼻音消失并且卷舌化成了ʐ,...
Lucius Hu's user avatar
  • 431
7 votes

Are people's names always pronounced the same in Mandarin?

The pronunciation is the same for the last names. For example, 華 must be pronounced as huà for the family name. When it is in the first name, it can be pronounced as huā, huá or huà. They can decide ...
young99's user avatar
  • 1,463

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible